Are Criminal Background Checks for Nursing Home Residents Coming?

A jury found that a nursing home and its affiliates were liable for the 2013 sexual assault of a resident by another resident. Evidence was presented that the facility new the assailant had previously been convicted of sexual assault, targeted the victim because she suffered from dementia, threatened to rape a caregiver, and no longer needed the services of the facility. Even though the nursing home was instructed by the Lancaster County Office of Aging (OOA) in 2010, to initiative a care plan, the assailant was placed in a room just two doors down from the victims room. The plaintiff, who since has passed on, was awarded $7.5 million in damages against the nursing home, finding that the facility and its parent company were 85 percent at fault for the victims injuries and damages. Pennsylvania does not require background checks of nursing home applicants, but it does require employee criminal background checks under the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA).

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